Sun Chronicle column;
It seems like a distant memory- something from years ago, not mere months.
Coach Redding stood before the Mansfield School Committee and delivered an impassioned plea on behalf of the school's athletes to stay in the Hockomock League.
Days later, Redding actually apologized for the emotional tone of his address.
Mansfield, the smallest school in the Hockomock for most of the league's 60-plus years of existence, had been mired in its second division for most of the decade. And as usually happens every 10 to 15 years, concerns over the town's perceived reputation as a "loser" were voiced to the school committee. After several weeks a sub-committee recommended Mansfield move to a smaller division. The school committee then held hearing in the school auditorium. To the committee's credit they listened to the people who spoke.
Recommendations to hire coaches who could be teachers and role models instead of baby-sitters, establishing the power of tradition.
And, they listened to Coach Redding- not a Mansfield native, but a newcomer whose commitment to the Green and White is as strong as his love for the Red and White was when he played for North Attleboro.
All he wanted was a chance. A chance to implement his system. A chance to mold the next generation of student-athletes into young adults who understood the importance of dignity and sportsmanship.
The results came sooner than expected. " Fortunately, we had a very talented team," he said "It was a combination of talent and hard work during the off-season."
From the Sun Chronicle
"For Coach Redding, whose team hopes to gain a berth to the EMass Super Bowl with a win over Foxboro, there is also the matter of sleeplessness.
It's just another day of losing a good night's sleep," said Redding, whose Hornets must wait until Saturday for the opportunity to realize their dreams.
Redding knew early they would not play on Thanksgiving. "I'm sure no one could sleep," said Coach, who was out running at 4:30 AM. The pregame run to clear his thoughts is a tradition but the 4:30 start is a tad irregular.
"There was already an inch or two when I started and by the time I got home there was a lot more. I said ' Geez, I don't think we're going to play"
And then the wait was over.
Foxboro drove to Mansfield's 13 on the first drive of the game, causing a hush from the large crowd from Mansfield. That hush was replaced by cheers when, when on fourth-and-7, Dave Antosca dropped the Foxboro QB for a 12 yard loss.
On the next series Sean McConnell pulled in a 35 yard pass from Scarpellini on a 3rd-and-4, setting up a 16 yard TD by Sam Butler(6-0).
As the game went on Antosca and Mark DeGirolamo repeatedly stopped Foxboro on third and fourth down. then midway through the third quarter the Hornets put the game away. On third-and-7 from the Mansfield 20 yard line Scarpellini unloaded a fluttering "bomb" that senior Rich Camelio somehow grabbed for a 63 yard gain to the Foxboro 17. Then, on fourth-and-7, McConnell ran a crossing pattern in the end-zone, and made a spectacular diving catch. Butler ran in the two point conversion to make it 14-0.